A Life in Three Octaves : The Musical Journey of Gangubai Hangal

Deepa Ganesh, Three Essays Collective, 2013, viii, 220 p, ISBN : 9788188789931, $33.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Life in Three Octaves : The Musical Journey of Gangubai Hangal

Contents :  1. Gangavatarana. 2. The past is never dead, it is not even the past.  3. There are numerous strings in my lute.  4. Karim’s reham, Gandharva’s grace.  5. Echoes of the invisible world.  6. Nada nadi-the river of resonances.  7. Guru bina kaise gu gave.... 8. Like fragrances taking flight on wayward wind. 9. Play of light and shade.  10. Aparigraha.  11. The song of her soul.  12. Krishna.  13. Late years.  14. All that spirits desire, spirits attain.  15. Two favourite recipes from Gangubai.

Gangubai was born to a family of traditional musicians in Dharwad and went on to become one of the greatest vocalists of the Hindustani classical music. ‘A Life in Three Octaves’ is an account of the life and times of this extraordinary musician who forged the highest form of art through the crucible of her circumstances.

Deepa Ganesh, Gangubai Hangal’s biographer, brings to life the historical moments which shaped Gangubai’s musical persona: the changing landscape of patronage and the arrival of the gramophone in India; the dying phase of the courtesan singing tradition and the creation of a public sphere; the rise of Marathi natyasangeet; the institution of All India Radio; and above all the Indian freedom struggle. She describes in detail Gangubai’s intimate relationships, especially those with her husband, her guru and her daughter Krishna, which were to profoundly influence her musical practice and her personality. To represent Gangubai’s life is to return time and again to her music.

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